Monthly Archives: February 2008

European Bus Trip

The combined Rotary clubs of France organise an amazing bus trip around Europe for the exchange students in their country. Today Ashleigh sent us the paper work to sign so that she can go in June.

In amongst all the rules about staying in your own room at night, complying with the requests of the bus driver, carrying your own passport and being responsible for your own luggage, I found these two gems:


13. Piercing is strictly forbidden during the bus trip.

14. Dying one’s hair blue, red, yellow or other colour will not be accepted.

I’m desperate to know the story behind those. THAT trip must have been quite memorable…


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One Hundred Sleeps

Today Chelsea came to visit.

She is feeling the void left by Ashleigh’s departure more than anyone else. She can’t walk into our house without a sadness coming over her. Each night she asks if it is less than one hundred sleeps until Ashleigh returns. One hundred is the biggest number when you are just six.

She wanted to show Ashleigh her new dancing shoes and her new Irish dancing moves.


“Don’t worry”, she said. “She can just see me dance at my concert.”

It almost broke her heart when we said that she wouldn’t be home in December for her concert.


I hated having to tell her that…


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In the decluttering frenzy of the past few weeks I have managed to lose my joggers. (please note that I use ‘joggers’ as a generic term to describe a type of shoe, NOT to describe how I use the shoes)

I have looked everywhere, but they are no longer in this house. They’re not under any tables or beds, they’re not in any cupboards or drawers, they’re not even in the shoe basket. They are just lost.

I think my Pete threw them out, but it makes him quite cross when I mention that.

SO off I went to buy some new ones.


I’ll put these ones in a safe place. In case I decide to declutter again…in about four years.


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Man of Steel

So, people have asked for an update on Pip. It has been almost five weeks since his surgery.

In that time he has:

read enormous books


improved his guitar techniques


made and received countless phone calls to invite lots of friends over to visit him


reach a level 66 with his world of warcraft character (about to level at 67)


He has healed and he is strong (don’t let his skinny, weedy appearance fool you)


So strong that he has taken no pain medication for a week, except for the day when he sneezed six times in a row. Next week I am taking him to meet his teachers on Tuesday. On Wednesday he will return to school. It is up to him how long he stays each day. I imagine he will find it quite tiring in the first few weeks. We are happy for him to come home when he needs to rest. He is excited to see his friends again, but not so thrilled with having to get out of bed early. It has been almost twelve weeks since he last went to school, it is time to get back to real life.

He is amazing!


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Dam Water

This month we have had so much rain. The ground smells like tadpoles from all the water sitting on the surface. According to my Pete the dam levels are 120%. (This is possible – every sportsperson in the world gives 110%, so why can’t the dam give that little bit extra.) A dam at 120% in Townsville is considered a tourist attraction, so, last weekend, off we went to have a look.


Don’t be fooled into thinking this was a misty and cool place to be, despite this photo. In reality it is 32 degrees and 96% humidity. If the mist didn’t saturate you, your sweat did.


My Pete, Pip and Melodie (our French exchange student) made their way down to have a closer look at the torrent coming over the dam wall. My Pete is holding the black and yellow umbrella with Pip in front and Melodie behind. The photo shows about one tenth of the people who were there to see the water.

I stayed at the top of the stairs. I didn’t go down to see the water at close quarters. I didn’t want my shoes to get any more squelchy than they were already. I’m pretty sure I know what water looks like any way.


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I have been enjoying the poignant posts that so many bloggers have been writing under the title ” I am”. They read like poetry. They evoke feelings of familiarity about people I have never met and places I have never seen. I can almost smell and taste the responses. I was invited to complete one of my own. My sister did one first. Hers is so beautifully written and contains so much of my own childhood that I am going to allow hers to speak for me too. Please note though, as the eldest, I ALWAYS had a window seat in the back seat of the car. Our experiences differ there!

Alice offered me a tantalising invitation to tea. It should only take me six months to drive from here to London, but at least she knows that all of my u-turns will be performed legally!

Recently, while I was off being a bit downer and not reading any blogs, two very kind bloggers offered me an award. Stomper girl says that I make her day, even though she has some linking problem in her middle ear or something. Tanya says that I am a rockin girl blogger because I show life and motherhood with grace. I know that this is true because I have passed that grace on to my daughter.

Who could resist a text message like this?


Quite frankly her name should have been Grace…


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Got a Bit Downer

When Pippy was little he was a very active boy. He was always busy and, generally, that meant talking. Somedays, though, he would be quiet.

I would ask, “What’s the matter, mate.”

He would reply, “I just got a bit downer.”


It was a word of his own invention. It doesn’t mean sad, or tired, or sick. It means that sort of feeling where you can’t be bothered. You know, you notice that the milk has almost run out and the shops are still open for another 30 minutes. Usually you would pop down to the shop and get more. Somedays though, you just get a bit downer, so you leave it. They are the sort of days that you would rather sit and contemplate than actually do stuff. Days when you break your routine for just quiet time.

This week I just got a bit downer. I haven’t looked at my blog, or any of those on my blogroll. The weather has been dark and grey and cloudy for the entire week. I don’t mind the rain, but I hate it when there is no blue sky or sunshine for days on end. It has been one month since Ashleigh left. She has been out of contact while she snowboarded at the French Alps. Aside from a few text messages I haven’t had the chance to chat with her. It has been one month since Philip’s surgery. He is getting bored without company or structured activity.

My Pete is a good man. He will pick up my slack forever and a day without a single complaint. He very rarely gets a bit downer. He’s shopping for a new car, visiting the dam to see the water run over, fixing the mower and organising Philip. My Pete will always pop to the shop if he notices that the milk has almost run out.

When Pippy was little he never stayed a bit downer. He always knew what to do to feel better.


So do I…



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Today, while I was out, my Pete cut down my favourite tree. It was growing so beautifully in our front yard, right near the driveway.

Ants had built a super highway along its trunk and branches.


They have chewed holes into the tree and made it weak. In the past few weeks we have had a couple of storms. Each storm had cause another branch to break and fall. It was becoming dangerous and had to go.

He completely filled the trailer, ready to take to the dump.


It was such a sad sight to see when I arrived home.

Thankfully he had filled a vase with its blossom and left it on the bench for me.


Better than flowers you buy at the shops…


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The decluttering has continued at our place.

Since cleaning the pantry I have shifted my attention our wardrobes. In a bizarre chain reaction it would appear that the reason that the ironing is not being done is that there is no space to put the clothes after they have been ironed. Time to cull. Clothes, shoes… all gone. A huge amount of space has been created. There are empty clothes hangers by the hundred.

These are mine…


all hand-made for me by grandma.

These are my Pete’s…


purchased down at the local supermarket by me.

It would appear that a strict class system exists within our wardrobe. I am plush, opulent and embellished. My Pete is practical and cheap!

No wonder he is getting desperate in his efforts to find new hiding places.


Found ya!


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Catch Him if You Can

Today is my nephew’s second birthday. He is an action man! He moves at superspeed. He runs, dances, leaps, climbs and tumbles. I tried to get a photo of him at his party, but









Well, not until we sang the birthday song, then he was very serious.


Ashleigh has put his favourite song on her blog for him today. We played it five times for him this afternoon. He tried out a few break dancing moves while singing at the top of his voice.

Happy Birthday Joseph.


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